Progress Notes | June 2023

As we make plans for the future of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, it is important to regularly look back at the progress we have made and examine the benchmarks of where we are. I am tremendously proud of our school and those who have helped make it what it is today.  

You may have seen the U.S. News & World Report released its 2023-24 rankings of medical schools in May. This year was unique in that many elite schools chose to not provide their internal data and were ranked based on available information. In light of criticism, the U.S. News went on a listening tour last year and developed a new methodology that included an evaluation of faculty resources, the academic achievement of entering students and research productivity.  

As a relatively new and smaller institution, we believed it was important for the VTCSOM to maintain its participation in the rankings this year. We do, however, share some of the concerns of fellow institutions and will continue to evaluate how rankings such as this fit within our mission and goals as we move forward.

That being said, I’m happy to report that VTCSOM was ranked No. 81 nationally among medical schools in research. This remains in line with our recent rankings: 2022-23: 82; 2021-22: 83; 2020-21: 81. We tied with the University of Louisville, the University of New Mexico and the University of Hawaii. We outranked such institutions as St. Louis University, Michigan State, SUNY Upstate, UMKC, NYU-Long Island, Geisinger Commonwealth, University of Nevada, University of South Carolina, Texas Tech, UC Riverside, Florida State, University of Central Florida, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, and many more.

One additional ranking to celebrate is that VTCSOM was ranked No. 59 in most graduates practicing in medically underserved areas. We can be proud that so many of our graduates have pursued a calling, consistent with our motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), to improve the health and well-being of underserved communities in Virginia and across the Unites States.

A quote potentially attributed to Albert Einstein says, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” The U.S. News & World Report formula counts research metrics, other data, and the impressions of peers and residency program directors. The formula does not count other aspects of VTCSOM that differentiate us from other medical schools, including our small size, problem-based learning curriculum and value-added domains of research education and health systems science and interprofessional practice. These unique experiences enable our graduates to become future physician thought-leaders with the sensibilities of scientist physicians and awareness of system citizens.

I wish to thank all of our amazing faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters who are helping elevate medical education at VTCSOM and spread the word nationally about the outstanding work being done here. Together, you all play a greater role than the rankings in advancing our reputation for innovation and excellence!

Lee Learman


  • Helena Carvalho, associate professor in basic science education, has been named chair of the Guyton Awards Selection Committee 2023 of the American Physiological Society.
  • Vianne Greek, web and social media manager, and Sophia Minor, admissions diversity counselor, obtained the certification for Diversity Search Advocate from Virginia Tech.
  • Sue Gregory, finance director, was selected for Virginia Tech’s Fiscal Leadership Certificate Program. This is the final certificate program in the Fiscal Training series and is intended to deliver premier leaders with knowledge of advanced financial topics, hands-on practical experience, and skills to promote integrity and mentoring.
  • Natalie Karp, assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology and health systems and implementation science as well as co-chair of our school’s health systems science and interprofessional practice domain, has been named the new director of phase 3 of our medical school curriculum.
  • Congratulations to Avery Mahaney, faculty affairs manager, who married Jacob Bishoff on May 19.
  • Chris McLaughlin ’17 was noted for exceptional teaching at Penn State College of Medicine.
  • Sophia Minor, admissions diversity counselor, earned the VirTual Safe Zone certification from Virginia Tech.
  • Adelaida Stambol, academic affairs manager, will retire June 30. Adelaida joined VTCSOM in 2010 and leaves some big shoes to fill!
  • Congratulations to Angelica Witcher Walker, assistant dean for student vitality, who married Kenneth Walker on April 20.
  • Mary Wesley, senior instructor in health systems and implementation science, was named an Integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV) scholar for 2023-24. She will research “Facilitators and barriers of integrating community health workers into maternal and infant care for rural populations in Southwest Virginia.”
  • Brendle Wolfe, faculty affairs coordinator, has earned an Executive Master of Natural Resources, Graduate Certificate Global Sustainability from the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment Center for Global Sustainability.
  • Cheers to the 18 faculty members from nine clinical rotations and clerkships who received commendations from our students for Rotation 8. Thank you for providing our students with exceptional learning experiences.
  • Patrick Beck, class of 2024, recently presented two posters. The first one entitled, “Expect the unexpected: An unexpected diagnosis of pediatric metastatic liver cancer using POCUS in the emergency department,” was presented at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine's annual meeting. The second poster entitled, “Adoptive transfer of NF-kB p50 knockout immature myeloid cells shows a trend towards slower glioblastoma tumor growth in an orthotopic mouse model,” was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting.
  • Deborah Ferron, administrative coordinator for TEACH, was the invited guest speaker for the Virginia Western Community College Class of 2023 Surgical Technology Program Pinning Ceremony in May.
  • Vianne Greek, web and social media manager, in collaboration with Sarah Dreier from VT talent development, presented “Introduce your talents before they introduce you” at the inaugural Virginia Tech Professional Development Conference in May. Vianne also presented “Using ChatGPT as your study buddy” at a cross-divisional event hosted by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.
  • Faculty members from TEACH and VTCSOM Sarah Harendt, Mariah Rudd, Shari Whicker, and David Musick led the “Creating a Mentoring Program that Fits” workshop at the inaugural Influencing Change and Solving Wicked Problems Conference on May 5 at Virginia Tech.
  • Rebecca Pauly, vice dean, presented a workshop titled “Personal Branding: Knowing and Promoting You” at the American College of Physicians annual meeting in San Diego with co-presenters,  Marion McCrary from Duke University and Fariha Shafi from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.


  • Heather Mason, curricular and media coordinator with TEACH, and Christopher Hendricks, professor of history at Georgia Southern University, were published in Trend & Tradition: The Magazine of Colonial Williamsburg, see Take into Account, pages 60-67. Spring 2023.”
  • The following individuals had The mean age of gender dysphoria diagnosis is decreasing,” published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: VTCSOM student Vemmy Metsutnan; psychiatry residents Ching-Fang Sun, Yezhe Lin, and Hui Xie; Carilion biostatistician Maria Hankey; and psychiatry faculty members John Draeger and Anita Kablinger.
  • Douglas Murray, III, class of 2024, Kiley Fagan, dermatology resident, Joshua Eikenberg, assistant professor in internal medicine, and Douglas Grider, associate professor in basic science education, published Unexpected granulomatous dermatitis: challenge in the American Journal of Dermatophathology.
  • David Musick, Brock Mutcheson, and David Trinkle published, “A pilot study assessment of medical student knowledge and system citizenship attitudes pertaining to health systems science” in Advances in Medical Education and Practice. Musick is senior dean for faculty affairs, Mutcheson is assistant dean for assessment and evaluation, Trinkle is associate dean for community engagement.
  • Roger Smith, OB-GYN faculty member, authored the 4th Edition of Netter's Obstetrics and Gynecology, which was released on March 28.
  • The following individuals had their research published in General Hospital Psychiatry: VTCSOM students Raymond Uymatiao, Riya Patel, Vemmy Metsutnan, Erin McDaid, Atreyi Saha, Paula Lewis, and Shyam Bhatt; psychiatry residents Ching-Fang Sun and Yezhe Lin; Carilion biostatistician Maria Hankey; clinical research associate Lauren Lipphard; psychiatry faculty members Anita Kablinger and Robert Trestman; and several colleagues from other institutions. Their research was titled Low availability, long wait times, and high geographic disparity of psychiatric outpatient care in the US.” 
headshot of new employee described below

A warm welcome to Tanya Hemmeian, senior director, enrollment management and assistant registrar, who joined the VTCSOM family in May.


Welcome to all the new faculty who joined us in May:

  • Emergency Medicine: Jacob Smith
  • Internal Medicine: Gary Harpold, Vivek Kesar, Klaus Mönkemüller, and Clarence Pearson, Jr.
  • Surgery: Benjamin Cragun

Diversity and Inclusion Notes

  • Holidays and observances in the month of June:
    • LGBTQ+ Pride Month
    • Immigrant Heritage Month
    • Caribbean American Heritage Month
    • 2: Native American Citizenship Day (US)
    • 4: Trinity Sunday 
    • 8: Corpus Christi
    • 14: Flag Day (US)
    • 16: Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev
    • 16: Feast of the Most Sacred Heart
    • 19: Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day
    • 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day or First Nations Day (Canada)
    • 21: Litha/Midsummer
    • 25 (Last Sunday in June): LGBTQ+ Pride Day (US) commemorating the Stonewall Riots 
    • 27-28 (sundown to sundown): Waqf al Arafa
    • 28-29 (sundown to sundown): Eid-al-Adha
    • 29: Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul
six people in a carilion clinic booth
Courtney Powell, director of community engagement (second from left), and NL Bishop, senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion (fourth from left), pictured with Carilion Clinic representatives at the Local Colors festival in Roanoke.

Community Corner

  • Members of the VTCSOM and Carilion Clinic families came out in support of Local Colors.
  • Watch for information on the next VTCSOM Art Exhibit and Mini Medical School coming this fall!
  • Also, VTCSOM is proud to be a sponsor of the wonderful Hidden in Plain Site Roanoke project. Learn more about the project and what’s happening next with the rollout.
  • The Hub: Looking for ways to engage? Already have an engagement event or project in the works and want to get the word out? VTCSOM Engage information is a very handy link to register an activity or event - it's all at The Hub!
  • VTCSOM staff and faculty had a good time at Virginia Tech's 2023 Employee Appreciation Event in Blacksburg. Pictured below are Angelica Witcher Walker with Stephanie Picado and Tanya Hemmeian with Tracy Jones
collage of two images with two people each - described above

Humanism Notes

Check out this wonderful story of how one small gesture can grow into a lifetime of happiness for others.

Take Note

Take Note

  • The Harvester Feature of Elements will go live on June 8th, 2023. This feature locates faculty publications within online databases and automatically loads them into your Elements account. From the home page, you will be able to claim or reject these entries for addition to your account. For more information on how to adjust and optimize the Harvester’s search setting, please reference the “Elements Harvester Guide” on the Faculty Affairs Elements page.
  • Please submit any events that you are planning in the next two months, so we can include them on the website, on social media, in Wellness Weekly, and in the next issue of Progress Notes.
  • This summer, take a lunch break and practice self-care doing yoga or taking a walk. Yoga sessions will occur from noon to 1 p.m. on the back patio of 2 Riverside, and the Walking Wednesdays group will meet from noon to 1 p.m. in the 2 Riverside lobby. Questions? Contact Emily Holt Foerst. Below are the dates for the sessions: 
    • June 7: Walking Wednesday 
    • June 14: Yoga 
    • June 21: Walking Wednesday 
    • June 28: Yoga 
    • July 5: Walking Wednesday 
    • July 12: Yoga
  • TEACH (Teaching Excellence Academy for Collaborative Healthcare) is excited to announce that nominations for the 2023 TEACH Awards are now open! Five unique awards have been created over the years to recognize the efforts of our educators and highlight their accomplishments. We encourage you to nominate exceptional faculty who embody the principles of excellence in teaching, who go above and beyond in their teaching role, and who will have a long-term impact on your career and that of others. Please visit the TEACH website for more information on the award criteria and to nominate an extraordinary educator.
  • The Assistive Technologies Group at Virginia Tech has been working hard to get university wide access to a PDF remediation tool. This tool will allow you to fix PDFs and make them more accessible. Sign up to obtain a license for the PDF remediation tool.
  • Past issues of Progress Notes are available on the website.

Upcoming Events

collage of five photos including a kitten on t-shirts, two photos of people playing jenga, a doodle, and two people with a puppy

The Last Note

This kitten found the purrrfect swag in which to take a nap during the Spring Extravaganza last month. In addition to hosting adoptable pets, the event featured food, games, fun and even a visit from the Virginia Tech doodler. 

Add Your Own Note

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